Thursday, March 19, 2020

Dutch Red Lancers

Sarah's Balloon sets me down upon picturesque 'Hawkin's Hill'. Here, our pal Phil asks us to finish something that we've had sitting around for three years or more.

Looking through my out-of-control lead stores, I'm ashamed to say sourcing figures for this task was nooo problem at all, in fact it was more about prioritizing what I should do. Actually, as it turns out, it was no contest at all, as I've had something needing to be done for a very, very long time. So, I present here a regiment of Napoleonic cavalry, but not just any unit, but the 2nd Regiment of Guard Lancers, the 'Dutch Red Lancers' whose uniform is perhaps one of the most beautiful from that sartorially splendid period.

This post is special to me for a few reasons. 

First it's Napoleonic themed, which is wonderful in of itself as Napoleonics were my first 'wargaming crush' and I haven't done a proper regiment for ages. To me, the period is the most beautiful example of Paper, Scissors, Rock. In it, none of the martial arms had complete dominance, making for some very exciting military history, and the uniforms were the perfect blend of ostentatious beauty and brutal function. 

But, for me, the most important aspect of these particular figures is their background.

I received these models 10 years ago as a thank you gift from my very good friend Greg for standing up as a groomsman at his wedding. Yes, this year Linda and Greg will celebrate their 10th anniversary (congratulations you two!) and so I thought it high time to get these figures properly attended to before another decade slips by.

Sarah and I met up with Greg and Linda for a few days during their honeymoon in Paris. During our visit Greg and I spent a wonderful day at the Musee d'Armee at Les Invalides, where I think he became bitten by the Franco-Prussian War bug (such beautifully curated displays, wow). The museum also had a gorgeous example of a Dutch Lancer uniform which, in turn, prompted this gift of miniatures.

While I typically enjoy working on Napoleonic figures I absolutely dread painting cavalry, especially from units as ornate at the Dutch Lancers. True to form, these were complete swine to work on, with all their varied colours and intricate uniform detail. They almost gave me fits. I started them in the first week of the Challenge and barely managed to get them completed for our final run-in. And I still have another dozen of them waiting in the wings! (Earmarked for your 20th anniversary, Greg!) Well, all this being said, I'm pleased with how they turned out and they will be a wonderful addition to my French cavalry contingent. 

As an aside, during the past few days while I've been working on these, I've been listening to Bernard Cornwell's 'Waterloo, The History of Four Days, Three Battles and Three Armies'. I have to say I'm surprised at how crap it was for the most part as I really enjoy his fiction. Sadly, I found it quite derivative of other, better written histories, and on the whole it read as an unabashed Anglo/Wellington love-fest. It was actually pretty hard to take at times. It certainly doesn't hold a candle next to other recent monographs such as the brilliantly written 'Waterloo' by Mark Clayton (which I highly recommend to anyone interested in a balanced perspective of that campaign).

Anyway, forgive my self-indulgent book review. Here are the Dutch Red Lancers, all done and ready to skewer the enemies of the Emperor.

Greg, thank you very much for these wonderful figures! The unit will be a wonderful memento of your wedding and of the great time we had in Paris!